Preparing for Spring: Tips for Graduating Students Entering the Workforce
Graduation is just around the corner. For students in their final semester this spring, the next few months are a whirlwind. Between studying for required board certification exams and job hunting, these months can be stressful. To help alleviate the stress of finding your perfect job, Talent Acquisition Specialist Nikki Gray in Baptist Health Human Resources, has five tips to help you build your resume, search for jobs, interview and successfully land your first job in the health care field.
Use your time wisely during your clinical rotations. This is a great chance to build rapport with the team on the unit(s) you are observing. Offer to help out when the opportunity arises, show that you are teachable and eager to learn, hone your skills and treat the patients with compassion and respect. Showing these qualities will make people notice the hard work you are putting into becoming a health care professional. This, in turn, will make them good contacts for you to use when it comes time to land the job you want.
“Your clinical rotations are one long interview,” Gray said. “It is a great time to build relationships with supervisors and other health care professionals on the unit’s team. The contacts you make during your rotations can be very beneficial to you now and as you grow in your career.”
2. Review your resume.
A resume is a quick glimpse into you as a person and potential employee. Before submitting your applications, review your resume and ensure it is accurate and up-to-date. You want to be as concise as you can, but be sure to include any work history, affiliations, skills and other qualifications that are valuable to the position you are applying for.
“Hiring managers love resumes because they provide insights and an itemized summary of your work history. Resumes help us determine if a candidate is qualified for the open position and if the candidate is someone we want to interview,” Gray said. “Keep your resume current by updating it as soon as you complete any new education, certifications and training. This ensures you are ready to apply for positions as they open up.”
Take the time to proofread your resume before submitting it to double check for mistakes. If you are applying for different jobs, create resumes that are tailored to each position. You are not generic, so make sure your resume is not generic either!
3. Begin looking for jobs.
As you prepare to apply for positions, think through your clinical rotation experiences. What floors, units or facilities did you enjoy working at? Would you like to work in a hospital or clinical setting? Where did you feel a connection with the teams you worked alongside? You should be able to picture building your career at that location.
“Start looking for jobs early in the semester, especially if you already know which units you are interested in working on,” Gray said. “We start accepting applications at the very beginning of each semester, and will interview soon-to-be graduates that qualify for open positions. If hired, we will hold that position for you until you graduate. That allows you to focus on your classes and clinicals without the additional worry of trying to find a job at the end of the semester.”
4. Get interview ready.
You’ve secured an interview, now what? Before you go to your interview make sure you are ready. For attire, consider wearing business casual clothing or clean, professional looking scrubs. If you choose to wear business attire, this includes blazers, button down shirts, dress pants, belts, flats, heels, loafers and knee-length dresses and skirts. However, do not feel that you have to spend a fortune on clothing. If you choose to wear scrubs instead, make sure they are not stained, fit well and are not wrinkled. Be sure to leave the smart devices, such as phones or watches, at home or out of sight. Don’t let yourself or your interviewer get distracted by a ringing or buzzing smart device!
Prepare for your interview by researching possible interview questions that might be asked. Typical questions can include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you think you would be a good fit for this position?
- Behavioral or action questions. Tell me about a time when _______.
Next, prepare questions for your interviewer. This will make you stand out as a candidate. Type them out and bring them with you to your interview. Here are a few questions you could ask:
- What is the work environment like?
- What is your leadership style?
- What is the retention of those you lead?
- Why did you choose to work here, with this unit?
“Interviews can be nerve-wracking! To make it a little easier, I suggest practicing answering potential interview questions so that you have a few different answers ready,” Gray said. “Think about situations you have experienced while in clinicals because they could provide ideas for how to answer the difficult behavioral or action questions. Most of all, don’t panic. If you get asked for an interview it means that the manager thinks you might be a good fit for the team. Try to relax and let your personality show during the interview.”
5. Show gratitude.
You did it, you made it through the interview process! Although you have completed the interview, there is still one more step you must complete to be a stand out candidate- send a thank you note. The art of the thank you note is often lost in today’s world. Thank your interviewer for their time. Let them know that you are appreciative of them for taking an interest in you. It is a quick and easy way to make a meaningful impact and ensures that you stay on the interviewer’s mind. Although a hand written thank you note is best, sometimes it might not get there in time. We recommend sending a thoughtful email or using an online card website like Paperless Post instead.
“Taking the time to say thank you or send a thank you note really makes an impact on the interviewer. This is an often overlooked step in the process, but for those that take the time to send a thank you note or email, it can greatly add to the opinion the interviewer has about the interviewee,” Gray advised. “It doesn’t have to be long, but a simple ‘thank you for taking the time out of your busy work day to speak with me’ shows you are both professional and respectful. In a competitive job market, that can make you stand out from the other potential candidates.”